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Customer Journey Mapping and Automation

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A Customer Journey Map is a top-down view of the touchpoints a customer, or prospective customer has with your brand en route to a particular goal or activity. Typically, this goal will be a conversion event (purchase, sign-up etc) or some other quantifiable milestone.

The purpose of a Customer Journey Map for marketers and CRM professionals is to lay out the entire funnel, from beginning to end and create compelling experiences and engagement campaigns to nudge the customer through it towards the goal. 

In recent years, the need for a Customer Journey Map has intensified due to the increasingly complex nature of digital marketing and engagement. Customers and brands interact via multiple channels and platforms, across numerous devices. A Journey Map should be able to cohesively chart these interactions and help ensure that you send the right message at the right time to create win-win experiences.

3 main benefits of a Customer Journey Map

    • Visualisation of each touchpoint in the journey
    • Alignment and strategic clarity across teams and departments
    • Ability to identify and address drop-off points in the journey

Customer Journey Maps were originally drawn up on whiteboards, and later using specialist software. The marketer would then need to actually implement the strategy and create the campaigns within their email solution, for example. 

Technology has moved on a lot since then, however, and it is now possible for marketers to create and execute multichannel journeys in one location.

Modern Customer Journey Mapping & Automation

The most recent innovations in mapping have come from combined Customer Journey Mapping and Automation solutions. These allow you to both visualise and automate campaigns from the same platform. 

These tools are often referred to as Customer Journey Builders or Workflow Builders. And there are some other names out there too. 

They’re used to automate engagement with your customers, personalising the messages based on their on-site or in-app behaviour or attribute from their profiles (total amount spent with, interests, date since last purchase and so on). Some of these tools can even allow you to combine various engagement channels (e.g. email and SMS) as part of a single journey.

They are occasionally offered as part of a mobile and multichannel marketing solution, which gives you the added benefit of providing real-time reporting at every stage of the journey. 

This means you can deliver the actual engagement campaigns as well as identify and address any leaks in your funnel.

An example of an automated customer journey map

The benefits of a Customer Journey Builder

    • Combines journey visualisation with journey execution for faster implementation
    • Makes multichannel campaigns easier to orchestrate and analyse
    • Allows you to plan for multiple customer reactions within the same funnel
    • Facilitates automated, right-time customer engagement where relevant messages are sent at the optimal moment
    • Uses customer data to deliver personalised experiences
    • Helps you to drive key goals at every stage of the customer lifecycle
    • Provides detailed reporting on the effectiveness of each touchpoint in the journey

Reactive vs Proactive Customer Journey Mapping

When developing and rolling out a new customer journey, you can look at it in terms of being “Reactive” or “Proactive.

At a basic level, this means either the journey is kicked off by the customer themselves, based on a recent action they’ve taken, or you make the first move and enroll them in a journey.

Really, the key difference between them, from an orchestration and automation point of view, is whether or not there is a “trigger-event” (i.e. the customer has just created an account, abandoned a basket etc).

Reactive Customer Journeys

    • Triggered in response to a customer’s activity on-site or in-app (i.e. an “event”)
    • Ideal for engaging with customers in real time, following this event (e.g. they’ve just joined your mailing list, have made their first purchase, have hit a loyalty milestone etc)
    • Can be automated and set up to run 24/7
    • Messages tend to have high engagement rates as they are relevant to a customer’s recent activity

Proactive Customer Journeys

    • The customer is enrolled in stage one of the journey by a manual campaign send (but each subsequent message is automated)
    • Used when you do not have a trigger-event and you want to enroll a particular segment of your audience in a journey (e.g. customers at risk or churning, VIP customers etc)
    • Audience segmentation plays a vital role in these journeys, as they will typically be personalised and designed to encourage a particular group of customers to complete an action.

Examples of when Customer Journey Mapping & Automation is used

Customer Journey Mapping has become a lot more tactical in recent years, especially in B2C. Marketers are creating data-driven journeys that address a specific pain point or serve a precise goal.

Typically, here are the 4 most common examples of where our own clients use automated journeys.

    • Onboarding and education
    • Repeat conversions
    • Abandoned cart recovery
    • Customer retention

Onboarding and education

If your business operates on a subscription model then an automated onboarding journey is essential. It’s particularly important during the early stages of the customer’s lifecycle (i.e. the first few days post-download, registration or sign-up) to proactively engage with them and either educate them about your product or service or nudge them towards their first conversion.

In the example below, taken from a sports betting company, the goal is to first welcome a new account holder and then encourage them to make their first deposit and a bet. This kind of journey would run all-year-round, and can be refreshed and updated throughout the year with new offers and content.

Customer journey map for the sports betting and gaming industry

Repeat conversions

With the cost of acquiring a new customer continuing to rise, increasing your wallet-share of existing customers is vital. In terms of driving additional revenue, an automated customer journey is a way to increase repeat conversion at scale.

As always, personalisation and relevance are the keys to achieving this. In the example below, from an eCommerce brand, the journey is aimed at encouraging customers who have previously shown an interest in Summer wear to make another purchase.

Creating customer journeys and maps in the eCommerce industry

Abandoned cart recovery

In terms of orchestration, cart recovery journeys tend to be relatively straightforward (compared to some of the examples we’ve looked at). There will likely only be a single stage or maybe two if you really want to chase the sale or want to use multiple channels.

The most important element is determining when the actual campaign is to be sent. Should it be delivered in real-time, as soon as the customer navigates away from your website without completing the purchase? Or is it best to wait 15 minutes, an hour or even 24 hours before attempting to re-ignite the sale?

You’ll quickly work this out with a/b testing but if you are interested in implementing this kind of journey make sure that the provider you’re talking to allows this level of flexibility.

Customer retention

Despite your best efforts, there will always be customers who, for whatever reason, either cancel their subscription or stop buying from you. A robust series of automated campaigns, backed up by a compelling message or offer, might just be enough to win them back or convince them to stick around a little bit longer.

For businesses with a subscription model, then the obvious trigger-event is going to be the initial cancellation. But if you wanted to be pre-emptive, you could also take a customer visiting a page of your website with information on how to cancel as the starting point.

In other industries, like sports betting and gaming or even eCommerce, it’s not so much an action that kicks off a win back journey but a lack of activity. By creating a segment of customers who have been inactive for a specific period of time, you can begin to develop a strategy to entice them back on-site and, of course, build an automated journey to execute it.

The next step

If you’re interested in learning more about customer journey mapping and automation, or you have specific use cases in mind, then please get in touch with us. We’re currently working with hundreds of brands, across all industries, helping them to roll-out impactful journeys at each stage of the customer lifecycle.

We’d be happy to show what’s possible for your brand to achieve at speed and scale.

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